The process began in November where nearly 600 artist applicants were reviewed by a Selection Committee of seven folk art experts who have the responsibility to review, discuss, and collectively decide which artists meet IFAA’s criteria: diverse media, country of origin, cultural story, and foremost exceptional quality.

This year artists from more than 60 countries will bring jewelry, beadwork, basketry, carvings, ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, paintings, mixed media, sculpture, textiles, musical instruments, and more. Some are honored tradition-bearers, while others are young creators reinterpreting ancient forms, and their art ranges from highly affordable to museum-quality master works.

The result is an exhilarating experience that affords often undreamed-of opportunities for the artists themselves, many of whom come from developing countries where the average income is less than $3 a day. “One weekend in Santa Fe provides artists with the financial ability to dramatically improve their lives and their communities,” says Jeff Snell, CEO of the International Folk Art Alliance, the Market’s parent organization. “Past Market artists have gone home to build schools, houses, wells for clean drinking water, and much more.”

Some 20,000 visitors will experience the thrill of discovering one-of-a-kind treasures and meeting the artists who created them. The experience brings together people through an intimate, person-to-person exchange that has always been at the heart of the Market. “Seeing these cultural treasures and meeting the artists creates a connectivity that stirs the heart, opens the mind, and invites us to speak a single language,” says Judith Espinar, co-founder of the Market and an internationally renowned folk art expert. “By keeping the vitality and cultural values of their homelands alive amidst a mass-produced world, the Market offers buyers a starting point for a journey that leads to the artists and stories behind their work. Every piece has meaning. That is what most of us want more of in our lives—a connection with the world.”

Artisan work is the second-largest income-generating sector in the developing world behind agriculture. “Providing a marketplace and business knowledge allows these artists to leverage the economic value and cultural beauty of their work to create social value that positively impacts their communities,” says Snell.  “Folk art has become an engine of enterprise, bringing opportunities to indigenous artists the world over.”

Mark your calendars now to attend the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe
July 8,9,and 10, 2016!